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Source: Reports of Browns, Kelly deal being close were “totally false”

Kelly Getty Images

Competition can, in theory, increase quality.  With plenty of options for the consumer, it becomes important for those responsible for the various choices to do it better than their peers.

In sports journalism, competition also can decrease quality, with the desire to be first overpowering the desire to be right and, consequently, increasing the chances that a report will be wrong.

We’ve seen it on multiple occasions in the past week.  With dozens or reporters swarming around the various coaching vacancies, media companies have been trying to be on the cutting edge.  Even if, ultimately, the cutting edge is being used to scrape dried egg from faces.

It started with the breathless reports linking Andy Reid to Arizona.  He will interview on Thursday!  No, he will interview on Wednesday!  No, he will interview on Thursday!  Either way, one source with knowledge of the situation says there’s a 95-percent certainty Reid will be the Cardinals’ next coach!

While ESPN’s Adam Schefter may never live down that 95-percent assessment (in the same way we’ll never live down the “Terry Bradshaw may be dead” gaffe from six or so years ago), Schefter has a semi-plausible explanation.  He never reported the deal was 95-percent done.  He only reported that a source close to the situation believed it.

Still, it doesn’t matter.  ESPN tattooed the 95-percent thing onto its crawl, and the 95-percent assessment became burned into the minds of every interested NFL fan.

Indeed, we had a plausible excuse for the Bradshaw thing, too.  We were merely passing along reports from Shreveport regarding Bradshaw’s possible demise.  But it stuck to us, and Reid-to-Arizona will stick to Schefter, and that’s just the way things work sometimes.

Now that the Browns didn’t hire Oregon coach Chip Kelly, those who joined the Friday night feeding frenzy (which, as best we can tell, was sparked by the league’s in-house media company) that a deal between Cleveland and Kelly was close, folks will be stuck with that one, too.  And while the plausible excuse being circulated by those who reported it is that a deal was indeed close before it all fell apart, it won’t matter.

Making it matter even less is the fact that a source close to the situation tells PFT that the reports of a deal between the Browns and Kelly being close were “totally false.”  The initial report, we’re told, surfaced during the early stages of the meeting between the Browns and Kelly, and the Browns regarded the account as “totally fabricated.”

With five coaching jobs still open along with five G.M. positions, it’s important to be leery of any reports of deals being “close.”  And it would be wise for the various media companies chasing these stories to refrain from characterizing a deal as “close,” especially since the folks leaking that information may have a motivation unrelated to giving accurate, trustworthy data to a reporter.

Permalink 25 Comments Feed for comments Latest Stories in: Cleveland Browns, Home, Rumor Mill
25 Responses to “Source: Reports of Browns, Kelly deal being close were “totally false””
  1. fuglyflorio says: Jan 7, 2013 9:22 AM

    There’s something not right with all this. Kelly sure gives me that “used car salesman” vibe. He’s got to be dirty.

  2. bucrightoff says: Jan 7, 2013 9:24 AM

    Kelly is a sleazeball. He worked this to get more cash out of Nike U with sanctions set to hammer them. Clearly isn’t NFL coaching material.

  3. jackblackshairyback says: Jan 7, 2013 9:24 AM

    Browns brought their lawyers for what was supposed to be a second meeting Saturday night. Or so the reports said.

  4. firerogergoodell says: Jan 7, 2013 9:27 AM

    If these reports really “stuck”, Jason La Canfora would have been out of a job a long time ago.

  5. dontasemebro says: Jan 7, 2013 9:30 AM

    NO KIDDIN!!!!

  6. realfootballfan says: Jan 7, 2013 9:39 AM

    What can we take from this today, class?

    Bob Lamonte is David Dunn’s daddy. That is all.

  7. kelmcc says: Jan 7, 2013 9:41 AM

    Oh c’mon fugly… you think a guy/school in bed with the most powerful sporting good manufacturer in the world, who can somehow magically recruit players from all over the country to one of most (weatherwise) depressing areas of the country (despite all we’ve been told about players wanting to play in the sunny south), and returns despite impending sanctions… you think that smells funny???

  8. steelerben says: Jan 7, 2013 9:44 AM

    Does that mean you will be checking facts more thoroughly before reporting them or that we as readers should just take anything reported with a grain of salt?

  9. jamiebuf12 says: Jan 7, 2013 9:49 AM

    Well shefter got the marrone to buffalo right. They are holding the press conference at noon today… Welcome to Buffalo coach Marrone and Go Bills!!!

  10. marvsleezy says: Jan 7, 2013 9:49 AM

    What about the fact that these reports were probably leaked by the teams in question?

  11. 1bbfan says: Jan 7, 2013 9:51 AM

    Kelly is a Blow Hard !! He belongs at Oregon not the NFL

  12. steelers4385 says: Jan 7, 2013 9:52 AM

    Why would anyone want to coach browns? I mean they have some talent on their team no doubt. Mostly on defense in my opinion. But that city is so boring and scummy its flat out depressing. I dont blame anyone for not wanting to be there.

  13. 32stork says: Jan 7, 2013 9:53 AM

    The NFL needs guys like Chip Kelly. In the meantime, all they do is recycle the same losers who get fired every year into a new head coaching job.

    What Florio should have written is that these ‘reporters’ don’t know their ass from last year’s tea leaves about what is going on in sports!

  14. freebird2011 says: Jan 7, 2013 9:53 AM

    The agent floated the rumor in an effort to increase to urgency and bidding for his client’s services. He gambled and lost. Agent doesn’t get paid a percentage of that new contract.

  15. NoobTubeTV says: Jan 7, 2013 9:55 AM

    I don’t care how close they are to hiring anyone. The Browns need to hire a good coach and GM that will bring in and groom talent. I don’t care if it is Jon Gruden or Jim Tressel… or even Nick Saban. Prove that you can win by winning.

    The rest is conjecture driven by ad revenue for media outlets.

    I hate ESPN.

  16. pinion8ted says: Jan 7, 2013 9:56 AM

    Meanwhile, the Cardinal’s Committee is straggling through the Phoenix Airport, wondering what’s delaying Andy Reid’s flight.

    The limo was booked for another gig, and they sent the band home ……..

  17. riseabovecancer says: Jan 7, 2013 10:27 AM

    Told you guys that Chip Kelly was never offered a contract from the Browns.

    told you that there was no reliable source about that.

    When that story 1st broke out…I already new it wasn’t true

  18. immafubared says: Jan 7, 2013 11:00 AM

    Hey good ol Chipper just took one out of the book from Les Miles is all. Make it look good and your school will pony up to the bar for mo mooney!

    You got to believe that Cleveland laid a deal on the table one couldn’t refuse unless, one was never planning on taking it in the first place.

    I would be money that once Cleveland made the ultimate offer and Chipper hemmed and hawed, they realized, hey this guy is wasting our time. He’s not serious, were moving on. Adios Chip. The door is to your left as you leave.

  19. indyeagle says: Jan 7, 2013 11:09 AM

    At the same time, it would be wise for media outlets to not be so quick to dismiss these claims as being false when teams such as the Browns have everything to gain by denying them.

    What else are the Browns supposed to say “uh, yeah, (insert random coaching candidate name here) we wanted Chip Kelly, we thought we had him, but, uh, he punked us and now we are stuck with you. But, uh, we support you 100%!”

  20. ronarch13 says: Jan 7, 2013 11:16 AM

    Reporting after the fact that the thing that didn’t materialize appears based on nothing. Brilliant

  21. teamobijuan says: Jan 7, 2013 11:21 AM

    No big name coach or good free agent will go to the Browns.

  22. anewmein2013 says: Jan 7, 2013 11:37 AM

    Funny how the media say they can’t reveal their sources because then other sources wouldn’t trust them, but when a story is wrong they blame the source.
    How about when a source is wrong, a media member has to reveal the source?
    That way media will make sure to double-check information a source is putting out there AND a source will think twice about putting rumors out there if it isn’t 100% the turth.
    (two sources used to be the standard but now it is just throw something against a wall and hope it sticks)
    Plus is the source is wrong and had a good reason for being wrong he can actually explain it.

  23. nananatman says: Jan 7, 2013 11:37 AM

    Oh this sort of thing happens in competitive industry all the time from PEDS in sports, writers in (largely irrelevant) sports writing, scientists falsifying data to justify a grant. Competition does actually encourage people who are bs to become a bigger pile.

  24. thingamajig says: Jan 7, 2013 11:43 AM

    It was close until Nike offered Chip the position of part time Consultant at a few mil per year if he stayed at Oregon.

  25. justadude71 says: Jan 7, 2013 11:50 AM

    How many times has someone reported that a source says a coaching hire is 95% since you reported that Bradshaw was dead?

    At leas once or twice a year, if not more.

    Really, really bad comparison and by extension completely fallacious argumentation.

    As for Kelly, I do not get the interest in ‘hot’ college coaches. Sabans success in college did not translate into the NFL.

    I believe the hottest commodity is Bruce Ariens. He has proven that he can lead a team.

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